What is a High Performance Car?

A high performance car is typically a car that was stock at some point, meaning original from factory, but has had many components upgraded. Most import tuners could possibly fall under this category as well as the newer American cars like the Mustang, Charger, or Camaro. The term “High Performance” can be loosely thrown around and most people tend to not know the difference between that and others. Most cars from the 60-70’s were known as Muscle cars and cars overseas are generally referred to as Exotics or Luxury. And as mentioned above, most of the cars that come from Asia such as Honda, Acura, Mitsubishi, and Toyota are also referred to as Imports. We have included a list of things that typically make up a high performance car. These parts are on all cars already, but are upgraded to “higher performing” parts. Please be aware that whenever you upgrade your car you need to be aware of local laws. Some areas have horse power restrictions or noise restrictions that need to be followed. If anything else, it is much safer to drive a performance car on a drag strip or actual race track.

High Performance Car Engines

The first two components that are normally upgraded is your exhaust and air intake. Generally the rule of thumb here is “bigger the better” or “more is better.” The more air and fuel you can put into a motor the more potential for power you have. And the bigger exhaust you have the more can be emptied from the motor, thus allowing more air and fuel to enter again. Obviously this is a simplified explanation as there is many other components involved. Anytime you make a change such as that, you will want to increase the amount of fuel going into the motor. You can normally do this by installing a special computer chip that can allow you to tune your car to your specifications. There are many applications available and each one does something a bit different.


Other things you can do to the motor would be a port and polish. This is a simple and cheap way to get horsepower. The casting from factory is normally pretty rough restricting airflow so by cleaning up the casting near the valves, you will allow for more air and fuel to get through. At this time they will normally match the intake valve port to the exhaust as well. When you have upgraded your car a bit you can also add Nitrous which is a minor shot into the motor giving you an extra boost of power.

Aerodynamic Body

Depending on the application, there is not a lot you would do here. Aerodynamics are really effective for cars going in excessive speeds to reduce wind drag. You will also see upgraded shocks and stabilizers as well.

Performance Tires & Breaks

This will depend on your application as well and will be determined by what you are driving on. Tires are either hard or soft and their wear varies. Brakes are great to upgrade because it is nice to be able to stop safely. Many cars come with brakes that have 2 pistons that operate the brakes but can normally be upgraded to a 4 piston set up. This will allow for evenly applied pressure and much more of it.

These are just a few things that make up a “high performance car” and will depend greatly on the year, make, and model. Just be sure that before you make any additions such as these that you check and make you are compliant with local laws and you are not voiding and warranty you may have on the vehicle. If you have any questions be sure to ask a qualified tech as well before making any additions to your car.